Dr. Steven Carr Reuben currently serves as Rabbi Emeritus of Kehillat Israel, the Reconstructionist Congregation of Pacific Palisades.
BECOMING JEWISH - the Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion
with Jennifer S. Hanin 2011
Rowman & Littlefield
The community of Pacific Palisades, California organized in 1922 as the "Chautauqua of the West" by a group of Methodists under the Reverend Charles H. Scott, found itself with a small but growing Jewish population in the days immediately following World War 11.
By 1948, small groups of Jews began to meet in each other's homes for Shabbat
services. The group enlisted the advice of Rabbi Max Vorspan, who was then employed
at the University of Judaism, regarding the religious path the new congregation
should follow. "My
recommendation was that the group in the Pacific Palisades organize a community
type of organization. which was an attempt at creating an "organic" Jewish community that would follow the philosophy of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, whose ideas founded Reconstructionist Judaism. If it works, it means that you don't care whether a person is Orthodox, Conservative or Reform; they join the Jewish community and the community together decides what the community needs." Through this suggestion they discovered Reconstructionism, and became the first congregation on the West Coast to formally affiliate with the Reconstructionist movement.
In October of 1950, Articles of Incorporation for the "Jewish Community of Pacific
Palisades" were filed with the California Secretary of State. Meetings and services
were held in various community buildings from the Woman's
Club to various churches. more .....